From dawn to dusk, and from dusk to the end of a night too hot for the Dolomites in winter, the first “electric” rally in the history of Italian racing organized by Audi was above all an exercise in awareness of the epochal processes of change in the field of ecology, mobility and finding resources.
Between tests of skill and patience and speed and control of consumption, the 20quattro ore dei Laghi e-rally starting from Cortina involved six Q4 50 e-tron and as many RS e-tron GTs driven by six different teams and over the course of the more than 5400 kilometers in total – traveled along the beautiful and difficult roads of the eastern Alps – the highly complex logistical event demonstrated how zero-emission driving can be part of a circular economy aimed at safeguarding resources rather than the exploitation of them.
One of the most important and relevant messages of the race lies in the type of electricity used to power the compact SUV and the 646 horsepower grand tourer which, following each special test, were recharged with the same hydroelectric energy coming from the dams on Lake Fedaia. which usually supplies Cortina and surrounding areas with renewable electricity. Considering then that the Audi factory in which the two racing cars are produced is declared neutral by the manufacturer, the environmental footprint of the first e-rally pursued the green line in every stage and operation. The monolithic container from Ingolstadt and used to restore 80 percent of the autonomy of the vehicles with a timing of about twenty minutes, is in fact another interesting case study as the function of accumulator for the energy storage necessary for the journey is obtained from the recovery of thousands of used batteries from used Ev models produced by Audi.
The implementation of a circular economy is at the basis of the paradigm shift inherent in mobility and as demonstrated by the dynamic qualities of the vehicles involved in the 20quattro ore dei Laghi, the German company is confirmed as one of the most consistent and avant-garde interpreters in terms of progress in zero emissions. The regularity tests (with control of the average speed and target on autonomy) have in fact highlighted the good efficiency of the models in conditions that are far from easy for the batteries and along the legendary asphalt strips next to Pordoi, Falzarego and Passo Giau, it turns out, for example, that by activating function B to replace the brake (or by increasing the recovery effect from the paddles on the steering wheel) a spacious compact SUV such as the Q5 e-tron, which enjoys an interior space from a higher segment, can climb and descend from an Alpine pass without losing more than two percentage points of autonomy. The same happens with the RS e-tron GT which, however, being more devoted to sportiness, has a lighter energy recovery setup. The final result, however, is the same; driving steadily and taking advantage of the differences in height in your favor, you can more or less “freeze” the range.
At the same time, the race placed the emphasis on the sporty nature of the German company which, since the legendary Audi Quattro, has made four-wheel drive a trademark and the latest generation electric one is up to five times faster in reactions. The practical feedback on the effectiveness of the four-wheel drive with electrodes took place in two different contexts; the tests on the frozen lake and the long hours of night driving on roads often paved with ice. In the lake basins of Fedaia, Issengo and Pianozes the Q4 e-tron and the RS e-tron GT (in this case both equipped with studded tires) managed to struggle with ease on a low-grip surface and the times recorded by each of the crews, contributed to the positioning in the final classification. The experimental event, but in compliance with the Fia and AciSport regulations, also provided for the completion of some journeys within a pre-established time, complete with time controls and stamping. Keeping in line with the indicated parameters, especially after sunset and skimming altitudes close to 2400 meters of altitude between hairpin bends, blind curves and precipitous gradients, proved to be less complicated than expected thanks to the structural and technological properties of the vehicles in the race. Although the route presented multiple pitfalls such as darkness, sub-zero temperatures and narrow sloping roads, both the Q4 e-tron (equipped with 460nm of maximum torque, sports suspension, adjustable shock absorbers, heat pump for greater efficiency) and the phantasmagoric and very fast RS e-tron GT, have always proved to be up to the challenging situations created by the organizers.
Over the course of the eight stages, the six teams managed to complete all the tests without jolts or unforeseen events and thanks to the fast charges of the base camp, the recharges – with twenty minutes to take good for about 200 km of sports driving – always took place on time. short; as a result, the timetable did not suffer any particular delays. The final classification was obtained from the set of times in the special stages, consumption and respect for the fixed hourly average but net of winners and losers, the first Audi e-rally with teams made up of journalists and highly decorated motorsport professionals (the co- Repubblica’s driver was Stefania Grassetto, touring speed champion from 1997 to 2000) was an event to be framed because in addition to the fun of oversteering on the ice and the pleasure of driving in silence surrounded by the majestic scenery of the Dolomites, the 20quattro ore dei Laghi was able to spread awareness and knowledge, while inaugurating a new and more sustainable perspective on the challenges of motorsport for the years to come.